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vipulnaik comments on Effective Altruism Grants project update - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: vipulnaik 01 October 2017 12:51:16AM 1 point [-]

Thanks for the detailed post, Roxanne! I am a little confused by the status of the recipients and the way these grants are treated by recipients from an accounting/tax perspective.

First off, are all the grants made to individuals only, or are some of them made to corporations (such as nonprofits)? Your spreadsheet lists all the recipients as individuals, but the descriptions of the grants suggest that in at least some cases, the money is actually going to an organization that is (probably) incorporated. Three examples: Oliver Habryka for LessWrong 2.0 (which he has reported at http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/pes/lw_20_strategic_overview/ is a project under CFAR), Katja Grace for AI Impacts (which is a separate organization, that used to be classified as a project of MIRI), and Kelly Witwicki (whose work is under the Sentience Institute). If the grant money for some grants is going to corporations rather than individuals, is there a way to see in which cases the grant is going to a corporation, and what the corporation is?

Secondly, I was wondering about the tax and reporting implications of the grants that are made to individuals. Do the receiving individuals have to treat the grants as personal income? What if somebody is coordinating a project involving multiple people and splitting the money across different people? Do you directly pay each of the individuals involved, or does the person doing the coordination receive the totality of the money as personal income and then distribute parts to the other people and expense those?

Comment author: Roxanne_Heston  (EA Profile) 02 October 2017 10:08:15AM 1 point [-]

are all the grants made to individuals only, or are some of them made to corporations (such as nonprofits)?

Some of them are going to nonprofits and other institutions, yes.

is there a way to see in which cases the grant is going to a corporation, and what the corporation is?

This wasn't something we'd considered publishing, and I'm not sure what if any privacy concerns this could raise. If there's a good case for doing so I'm happy to consider adding that information.

Do the receiving individuals have to treat the grants as personal income?

Unfortunately, in cases where we paid individuals directly they do have to treat them as personal income. We might have been able to avoid this in some cases by giving the money as scholarships, although as far as I'm aware this would have been a big hassle to set up. It's on the table for future rounds if it seems worth the setup cost.

What if somebody is coordinating a project involving multiple people and splitting the money across different people? Do you directly pay each of the individuals involved, or does the person doing the coordination receive the totality of the money as personal income and then distribute parts to the other people and expense those?

In four of five cases the money went to an institution with whom the recipient will coordinate multi-person distribution. In the fifth case the money went directly to an individual who had yet to designate the other recipient, so we gave them the totality to distribute themselves.